Advent Calender Day 18: Fish
Welcome to the eighteenth day of the Dream Well advent calender! Today I am writing in response to a question I received about fish in dreams.
Of course, we cannot write about fish symbolism without looking at it’s extreme importance in Christianity. The fish is beleived to have become a symbol from the 5 Greek letters for the word fish “Ichthys” which words briefly but clearly described the character of Christ and His claim to the worship of believers “Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter”, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour. Fish are strongly associated with the Eurcharist. Jesus is also known to have performed a miracle by multiplying fishes after the Resurrection. (source: Catholic Encyclopedia.) To a Christian, a dream of a fish is likely to have a more specific meaning than to someone of another faith, or of no specific religion, who dreams of fish. Such dreams can be symbolic of a connection with the divine, or receiving spiritual guidance or support, or even an indication of scriptures that may prove helpful at a certain period of your life
Prior to Christianity, Pagans also used the fish symbol. Fish, coming from the water or source of life, were often associated with fertility, creativity as well as with wisdom. A woman may dream of fish when she is pregnant, or trying to conceive. Men may also dream of fish if they are desiring to start a family. Certain fish have specific associations, such as salmon, who symbolise determination and courage, due to their ability to swim upstream and return to their birthing place. In Celtic stories, eating salmon imparted wisdom. In astrology, the fish, known as Pisces, are associated with feelings, intuition, dreams and secrecy. They are know for their sensitivity, but also seem unable to show strength of conviction, and seem “wishy washy” or flip-flop with their ideas. This haziness of nature can be better understood when we realise that fish move in the realms of imagination, and sometimes distinguishing what is real can be a challenge. In dreams, fish can ask us to consider what we know, what we feel, what we dream and what we wish… and to understand the difference.
One of the most significant aspects to the fish in general is its very ability to live in an element in which we can not naturally survive. As fish breathe in water, their associations with all that water symbolises is also strong. Fish in a dream can symbolise becoming adept at surviving in a new environment, or we may suddenly feel like we know what we are doing and are “in our element.” Conversely, if we dream of a fish that has been taken from the sea, it may symbolise that we feel very uncomfortable with a new situation, and feel “like a fish out of water.” To dream of a mermaid or merman may symbolise and integrating of the qualities of water, or imagination and feelings, with more physical attributes in day to day life. They may also represent mastering an ability to bring ideas from the depths of our subconscious to the surface, or to navigate the seas of our emotions with greater ease.
If we dream of a fish being caught on a line, it may symbolise our fear or recognition of being betrayed or fooled by someone, that there is a story we fell for “hook, line and sinker.” To dream of losing a fish we are trying to catch can be a sign of a lost opportunity or a missed chance, literally the “one that got away.” Alternatively, catching a fish may symbolise that we are bringing something from our subconscious to the surface, that is, we may be becoming conscious of repressed feelings, or we could be having a really creative break-through idea.
As fish often swim in large schools and are used a highly nutrient rich source of food, they are often associated with abundance. We use the phrase “there are plenty more fish in the sea” to express this in a way. Fish in dreams of this sort may assure us there is no reason to fear loss, and to be confident of receiving that which we need.
To dream of a school of fish can also represent a need to belong to a larger group, of the safety and comfort in heading in the same direction as many other like minded people. Or it may be a fear of losing one’s identity, and simply becoming one of many in a sea of sameness. Dreams like this can encourage us to break out and pursue our own dreams and goals, regardless of what others around may say to try and coerce us to conform.
The sustaining element of fish as food can be symbolic in dreams of a part of our inner world receiving nourishment, often that our spiritual or emotional nature is be nurtured and sustained. And as fish live and breathe in water, they are masters of the domain of emotions, inner life, dreams and intuition. Dreams of a single fish, swimming with a fish or like a fish, can be profound symbols of connecting with our deeper selves. Fish in a dream can symbolise the flow of life, of transformation and creation. They can symbolise a development of emotional perceptiveness, or learning to trust our instincts. Fish can symbolise the creation of new ideas, new ways of living that sustain and nurture us or even the start of new life itself.
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Thanks for the beautiful art work to Shijun Munns
An interesting reflection that may be of interest is here: Intersect Margie Pierce and Meister Eckhart